To My Little Sister, As She's Choosing A College To Call Home

To My Little Sister, As She's Choosing A College To Call Home

There is no right answer, but the one that aligns closely with your heart. There's no secret to choosing. It's all just you. Believe in your choice.

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Recently, my little sister has been applying to colleges. It's hard not to put my two cents in on the place I envision where her next four years would be. I know though that ultimately the decision is one that she must make for herself because, in the end, the experience is all her own. So to my sister choosing a college, this one is for you.

Dear Sis,

I envy the position you're in right now. You quite literally have the world at your fingertips and the ability to choose your destination of happiness for the next four years.

College isn't like high school. You see, high school wasn't a choice. It was part of the plan that came with where you lived and so are the people that go there with you. College is so much different. You are gifted with the presence of so many different individuals from many different cities, states and sometimes even countries. They all made a choice like you. One different from high school. One that allowed them the freedom to be where they are.

Four years in college is like a really long movie. There are ups and downs and definitely some climaxes, but even though the movie says it's going to be long, once you get to the end you can't help but want to replay.

Find a college that's worth the replay.

Find a place that speaks to who you are and who you eventually want to become. In four years, your entire life will change. You will realize your self-worth. The worth that no high school boy or award could give you.

You will make meaningful friendships that aren't strengthened by rumors and drama, but by support and adventure. You will seek to travel. You will find comfort in being alone to find yourself. You will find comfort being with others that will help you find you. College is like a growth spurt on steroids. You change so much in four years you have to wonder why it took so long to learn everything you knew before.

As a senior in college now, I only hope you find what I did. A place that I love that loves me back. I hope you find somewhere that gives meaning to the life you live now and your future aspirations. I hope you find somewhere with the best library to study for the hard exams. I hope you meet the friends that you deserve to have.

I found that all in a place I call home. Home is where your heart lies. It's not where I went or where you think you need to be. Home is where the comfort of leaving a life you knew seems easier because you know you will be in a place for YOU.

After four years, I can't help but cry. Not because I had a bad experience, but because I fell in love with a place that I got to choose. I fell in love with life as I hope you do too. The world is at your fingertips and I hope you make the next four years a world worth being part of and just remember home isn't about the house you grow up in. Home is about the love and laughter that bind people together.

We will always share one home already, but now it's time you choose a home for yourself.

I found mine. I know you will find yours. Don't sweat it.

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Why Nursing School Friends Are So Vital

Pun intended.

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When I started nursing school, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn't naive. I heard the stories. I knew what I was getting into…to a certain degree.

It was everything I thought it would be and more. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. The thing you realize quickly in nursing is that it's not something you can achieve on your own. You have to have a support system. It's how you survive. It can feel like you're on your own because you have to perform the skills and make the grades, but really, there are so many friends standing behind you pushing you through.

I've seen it over and over again. I've been a part of it, witnessed it and had help myself. The truth is, even the most intelligent students need help in some sort of way. It might be hard to realize it when you're so inwardly focused, but when you look around you, everyone is walking the same path. They just have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an incredible thing when others use their personal strengths to offset your weaknesses. Nursing friends see in you what you don't see in yourself. Nursing friends share your passions, sleepless nights, early mornings, stress, panic attacks, victories, and failures. Nursing friends are your own personal cheerleaders.

It's no secret that we deal with some pretty gross stuff. Who else can you count on when you're walking down the unit trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you change the clothes of a morbidly obese patient who's covered from shoulders to ankles in their stool? Your nursing buds.

What about when your patient goes into v-fib (ventricular fibrillation), and you need someone to relief on chest compressions? Your rock star nurse friends are there to lend a hand or two.

Or what about when you are scrubbing into a C-section for the first time and you're kind of, sort of, secretly concerned you might get queasy or faint? Your nursing squad will remind you how tough you are. They'll assist you as quickly as possible and when you are finished washing your hands a thousand times, they'll make you laugh or smile. They'll always be there to help you with dignity, support, love, and encouragement.

Your nursing friends know which supply closet you go hide in when you are about to lose it or when class is so long it's giving you a headache so they pass you some Tylenol. Nursing friends are the backbone of your nursing school experience. I always love it that whenever I need hand sanitizer, Tylenol/Advil/Motrin or even a Band-Aid, someone always has it.

Even if you don't talk every day, or you take different class times, there is always someone waving hello or asking how you're holding up. You are all so different, but at the same time, you feel like you're surrounded by so many who are just like you. They care as much as you do. They love as much as you do. And the best part? They just love you. Even on your worst days. There will be times when you trip up on the easy stuff you know that you know, but they'll be there with open arms telling you about when they were in the same place. They are the ones who “fight in the trenches" with you. They'll carry you when you can't keep going, and you'll do the same. No woman or man left behind.

Nursing friends are incredible lifelong blessings. So, remember to thank them every once in a while. Keep cheering each other on, keep fighting together and keep reminding each other that the end goal is closer than it seems.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Cagle

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For The Younger Siblings At Home While I'm At College, Know This

I'm pretty damn lucky to be constantly annoyed by you.

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I know you won't believe it, but I actually do miss you.

After spending most of my life being your role model, your confidant, and your friend, it's difficult for me to accept that you are growing up without me there to see it. You're maturing physically, mentally, and emotionally. You're changing from a little, pudgy baby to a young adult way too quickly! It's odd to think that at one point I was taller than you, that I was the big sibling in charge at home, and that your biggest worries used to be finding the right stuffed animal to sleep with.

Now everything's changing. You've reached that age where everything kind of sucks, you're not sure of yourself, and you're trying to figure out where you fit in. I remember going through that stage myself and I'll be very honest, it was rough. I got through it, though! I know you will, too. You're so strong-willed and determined, I am certain that you will conquer every obstacle that gets in your way. This phase in your life is no exception.

Even though I'm far away, I want you to know that I always have you on my mind. I wonder if you ever figured out those math problems or if you have any new crushes. I see memes and videos that make me laugh too hard and I immediately think you'd like it. I worry about if you're making good choices and if you're putting in enough effort so you can have another accomplishment under your belt. I hope you know that I will always worry over you, and just because I'm away right now doesn't mean I stopped caring about you.

I want you to know that you are perfect the way you are. I'm not saying that because I have to, I'm saying it because I truly mean it. You are stunning and incredible, amazing inside and out! There are going to be times that you see others and wish you looked like them when you look in the mirror and believe you see flaw after flaw. There will be times when you wish you could change some aspect of your personality. When those moments come, give yourself a minute to take a deep breath and think of all the things you love about yourself, to think of all the things that you are proud of. You are worth so much more than you realize and you make me so incredibly proud every day- you aren't worth less than anyone else, and you better start believing it!

You may be a pain in my ass, but I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world. We may fight and disagree sometimes, but at the end of the day you are my go-to, my ride or die. I'm proud to say that I'm your older sibling, that I'm related to a star like you.

I love you with my whole heart!

(But don't let anyone know I said that, yuck!)

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